Travel agencies are warning tourists venturing to Thailand that using an e-cigarette in the country could land them in jail for a decade.
Langley Travel is sounding the alarm for customers and encouraging people to spread the word in order to avoid an incident “that could ruin a holiday.” Pat Waterton, the manager of Langley Travel, said her nephew was recently on a trip in Bangkok and threatened with arrest and jailing for carrying an e-cigarette, reports The Independent.
He managed to dodge jail time by paying a nearly $150 dollar fine to law enforcement on the spot.
“If I’m selling Thailand I will definitely mention it now,” Waterton said, according to The Independent. “All agents should. Thailand is very popular so we should make sure we are telling people about things that could ruin a holiday.”
Lawmakers in Thailand officially banned the importation of vaping devices in November 2014. The measure was subsequently reformed to include a ban on selling vapes and exporting the devices. Bringing the device into the country or using it can carry a 10-year prison penalty, while selling or supplying the devices is punishable by five years behind bars.
“You can’t bring vaporizers or refills into Thailand,” the U.K. government warns tourists. “Several British Nationals have been arrested for possession of vaporizers and e-cigarettes.”
Lawmakers in the Philippines are currently considering similarly strict penalties for people caught using vaping devices outside of designated smoke areas.
Filipino Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III introduced the bill Monday, which would ban vaping in schools, places of worship, public transportation, government buildings and recreational facilities. First-time offenders face the U.S. equivalent of a roughly $5,000 fine, which is doubled for a second vaping violation. Individuals caught a third time face the equivalent of a roughly $50,000 fine and up to five years in prison.
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